#99 in my top 100 spiritually literate films is Nights of Cabiria. This is the heartbreaking yet glorious story of a prostitute in search of redemption. A near death experience forces her to reconsider her life, and her question, “What if I had died?” begins a quest for purpose. Cabiria joins a group that is journeying to a holy shrine. This pilgrimage allows her to find hope and believe that she is able to become better. Finally, a chance encounter with a man may just give her the new start that she so desperately longs for.
The miracle of this film is not its ultra neo-realist authenticity or it’s remarkable amateur actors but that Cabiria is happy. Regardless of her desolate circumstances and miserable outlook, from the first frame to the final shot, she is content.
Nights of Cabiria is at the same time bleak and joyous with a beautiful final shot that embodies transformation. Its a film about forgiving yourself and discovering your own potential. It is about climbing up out of a life that you do not want and believing that you were created for something greater. It is about clinging to a divine hope that all is never lost.